Bukayo Saka’s stock has risen since the start of the season and the competition for his allegiance is heating up too.
According to reports this week, Nigeria are set to make a big push to recruit Bukayo Saka in the coming weeks.
To date the 18-year-old, who was born in London to Nigerian parents, has only ever represented England at international level featuring for several age groups up to the under-19s.
Given his rapid progression at Arsenal, capped this month by a new long-term contract and the inheritance of the club’s feted number 7 shirt, there have been whispers of an England call-up and suggestions he could even make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
If that is to happen, the Three Lions might want to move quickly.
Nigeria have previous turning the heads of players who’ve worked their way through the ranks at St George’s Park. Ex-Gunner Alex Iwobi switched allegiance in 2015 and has since featured in the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
When asked about the situation, Mikel Arteta said it’s not something he’ll get involved in unless the player asks for his advice.
“If I get asked a question [by him], I can give an opinion,” the Spaniard said on Thursday. “Up to now, he’s not come to me with that.
“I’ll leave total independence to the players and the families because normally they have a big say because of their background and the culture and where they are coming from.”
Put to him that the teenager had the quality to play for either side, he added: “Absolutely, and he’s very clever to make the right decision as well.”
As things stand, international football is suspended while domestic and continental leagues finish their seasons. Matches are due to start again in September at which point Nigeria could pounce.